Exile route- La Vajol

The Spanish Government chose La Vajol to protect part of the Republic's economic and artistic heritage during the Spanish Civil War. Hundreds of exiles passed through the town of La Vajol, heading in the direction of the Coll de Lli.

  • Modality
    • By foot
  • Region
    • Alt Empordà
  • Towns
    • Vajol, la
  • Time
    • Between 3 and 4 hours
  • Difficulty
    • High
  • Estimated duration
    • 3h50min
  • Distance
    • 12,9 Km
  • Hide elevation maximum
    • 711m
  • Hide elevation minimum
    • 507m
  • Ascent
    • 483m
  • Descent
    • 483m
  • Thematic
    • Salines- Bassegoda on foot

The village experienced a period of strong political activity and was the seat of the Presidency of the Republic and the Government. The region’s smallest village, paradoxically, became the capital of Spain.

Start the route in car park at the entrance to La Vajol and take a left to visit the Exile Monument.

Return to the village entrance and walk towards the Font de l'Amor. Follow the GR 11 signposts to the intersection after the town hall. Continue straight until the next intersection, and head to the right on Calle Illes, with the Maçanet de Cabrenys road and the GR 11 on the left. Continue up the paved road to the road that runs from La Vajol to the Coll de Manrella. Just before the road, take the footpath to the left, which runs parallel to the road. Continue along the path that leads to the road. Bear left to the Coll de Lli path.

Leave the road and continue along a trail, passing by the Font del Cucut and abandoned pastures now lush with ferns. At the Coll de Lli, leave the trail and take a path to a cattle fence where a panel provides information about the Espais de la Memòria (Remembrance Sites). Cross over the hill into French territory.

Descend the trail following the signposts marked with yellow paint. After connecting with another trail below, a closed gate prevents hikers from walking further. Leave the trail and take the path that goes down to the left and leads to Hostal dels Trabucaires, just at the entrance to the small French village of Les Illes. Continue along the main street, past a monument dedicated to the French fugitives of the Second World War, until the end of the street, where a fountain and tables can be found. Bear right toward the small Plaza Lluís Companys and the monument to Spanish Republican fighters.

Take the road towards La Vajol, passing by a few village homes. Leave the road at the bend where the asphalt ends and go straight on, taking the shortcut, which connects with the road higher up. Keep walking along this wide trail to Coll de Manrella and the Lluís Companys monument.

Descend the hill, crossing the border into Catalonia once again on the way down. Follow the Itinerànnia signposts, walking down a paved road for a hundred metres and taking a path to the left; then follow the signs to La Vajol, descending through the woods. Go through an intersection and continue in the direction of La Vajol to Can Quera.

Continue along the trail, passing by the Font de can Quera and, about 300 metres on, take the secondary trail on the right and look for a parallel trail a few metres higher; pass behind Can Capelleres and link up with the La Vajol to Coll de Manrella road. Cross the road to reach La Vajol along Carrer de Lluís Companys. At the intersection, continue straight along Carrer de la Generalitat. Turn right at the end of the street and continue along the road to the cemetery; pass the cemetery and continue on to the Font de Sant Silvestre and the Empordà viewpoint.

Follow the road to the left for 1.5 km, walking along the Can Barris pastures to the signpost on the left that indicates the path to the Canta mine, where the GR 11 long-distance footpath also turns. Follow the cart track to the Mina Canta refuge. From here, take the same route back to the cemetery and continue down to the village, finishing the hike in the car park at the entrance to La Vajol.